Geswende Bamogo was already an old man when the Christian Service International workers came to his village in 1977 to drill a well. The well was dry, but the old papa saw something in these men that became a spring of living water in his life. He visited often, learning all he could about their faith.
Two years later, the CSI workers left Upper Volta, but they gave Papa Bamogo the flannel graph materials they had used for teaching the Bible. He made good use of those materials, telling the stories to others and sharing the convictions in his heart.
Twenty-one years after the CSI workers had left, Papa Bamogo and a few others prayed for the return of members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite to teach them more fully the way of salvation. A few weeks later, visitors came to see him, investigating if the church should return to this country, now known as Burkina Faso. He was overjoyed and soon there were mission workers in the country.
December 8, 2001, Geswende Bamogo was baptized at Tandaaga. There were five more baptisms the following year and another six the year after that, including our aged brother’s wife. These baptisms were the fruit of one old man’s efforts to share his faith, later aided by North American missionaries.
Geswende Bamogo was at least 105 years old when he died in July of 2005. The congregation at Tandaaga is small, but it is growing, both in faith and numbers. In 2012 Souleymane Bamogo was ordained as the first minister of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite in Burkina Faso.
There are no missionaries anymore at Tandaaga, the congregation is indigenous. There are missionaries at three other locations in Burkina Faso, with a few members in each place.
The need for missionaries is as great today as it has ever been. The need is just as great here in North America as it is in Africa. Yet there is a limit to what a missionary can accomplish. It is only when local people become rooted and grounded in the faith and begin to live it, teach it and preach it, that we can have confidence that the faith has been planted in this location and will endure.